It's been a long time coming, but two days ago this Rams teams finally started to play with a ferocity, finally started to lay it all on the line. The team that has all to often given up by the fourth quarter, by the half, finally found some swagger. Marc Bulger wasn't sliding a yard short for first downs, Donnie Avery had more touchdowns then fumbles,
Alex Barron didn't almost cost us the game. All was good. But how long will this nothing-to-lose strategy apply for?
Sure, the team is 1-8. They really don't have that much too lose in the way of...well, anything this year. But mentally, having come so close to defeating the Saints, it must have been quite deflating to see the scoreboard after the game. To know it was in your grasp, yet have it slip through. It was definitely a tough loss for the team to go through.
These next few weeks are going to be crucial for the development of this team, for them to trust in Coach Spagnuolo. It's one thing to point at glaring deficiencies and huge mistakes that cost the team a chance at competing. It's one thing to see all the problems that went on during a game and see the score be a blowout. "Same old Rams," you could say. But this team gave it their all against the Saints and narrowly came up short. The Rams next few opponents aren't nearly as complete of a team as the Saints, which means that the Rams easily have a chance to win (if they can almost beat the Saints, they can almost beat anybody, in my opinion). Granted, there were areas to improve upon, but that game has to have been the high point so far in the season.
Spagnuolo has this team competing, their is no doubt about that. But after the win against the Lions, everyone said the team needed the win. Going 0-8 into the bye, people thought the team would've crumbled. That same chance of crumbling away has reared it's ugly head again. Can the team pick itself back up after the disheartening loss? Can they keep up the swagger? Or will they crumble apart? Was this merely a flash in the pan or will Bulger return to 2006 form? (Do you even want him to, or are you done with him at this point?)
Everyone is about to see what this coaching staff and team is made of. The team believes in Spagnuolo, sure, but their morale at 1-8 surely isn't, "sitting on the top of the world." If Spagnuolo can guide this team out of the darkness right now, then the future looks extremely bright.